A South American man who was rescued from the ocean after spending 438 days at sea is being sued after he was accused of staying alive by eating the flesh of his shipmate.
The family of Ezequiel Cordoba, 22, are making the claims against Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 36, News Corp reported.
The pair were in Mr Alvarenga’s tuna boat on November 17, 2012, but ended up adrift off the coast of Mexico.
The family allege he kept himself alive by eating Mr Cordoba, and is asking for about $1.4 million in compensation.
After he was saved Mr Alvarenga, from El Salvador, said he stayed alive by drinking turtle blood and urine, and eating birds and fish caught by hand.
He also revealed that his best friend, Mr Cordoba, starved to death but he kept the body on the boat for six days in order to keep himself company.
Mr Alvarenga’s lawyer, Ricardo Cucalon, told The Sun there was no way he consumed his shipmate but had thrown the body into the ocean.
Mr Cucalon made mention that the lawsuit kicked-off days after a book about Mr Alvarenga’s traumatic experience was published.
“I believe that this demand is part of the pressure from this family to divide the proceeds of royalties,” he said.
“Many believe the book is making my client a rich man, but what he will earn is much less than people think.”
The tuna fisherman also denied the claims.
“I wouldn’t have done it, even if it meant that I starved,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It would have been on my conscience forever. There was no flesh left on him. I doubt he even made a meal for the sharks.”
The fishing boat was taken out Pacific coast of Mexico’s southern Chiapas state when the craft disappeared on November 17, 2012 because of bad weather.
Mr Alvarenga then washed up in a remotes location in the Marshall Islands almost 18 months later.